In his new book, “The Deadly Rise of Anti-Science,” renowned pediatrician and vaccinologist Peter Hotez highlights the surge of anti-science sentiment.
He discusses how this movement has evolved from the false claim in the late 1990s that vaccines cause autism. Hotez, who has been at the forefront of vaccine development, emphasizes the organized, politically motivated, and well-financed nature of the anti-science movement.
He stresses that it poses a significant threat to both American science and scientists. Hotez points out that over 200,000 Americans died due to the organized campaign against COVID vaccines.
Hotez’s book also sheds light on the attacks against individual scientists and the portrayal of scientists as enemies of the state. He believes that this is undermining national security. He acknowledges that while there may be concerns about giving more attention to anti-vaxxers and anti-science groups, remaining silent is not an option in the face of a lethal force that has claimed so many lives.
Hotez doesn’t attribute the rise of anti-science attitudes solely to Donald Trump’s presidency, as the situation escalated notably in 2021 and 2022. He criticizes the efforts to rewrite history and the attempts to humiliate prominent scientists in congressional hearings.
Hotez also touches on the disturbing trend of comparing COVID vaccination efforts to the Holocaust, which he finds deeply offensive. He notes an overlap between anti-vax and antisemitic groups, indicating a history of linking anti-science to anti-semitism. The book highlights how the U.S. is exporting antivax and anti-science sentiments globally, following an authoritarian playbook.
Hotez expresses concern that this movement will not fade away on its own and emphasizes the need for collective action involving the White House, United Nations, and interagency task forces to address this security threat that undermines democracies and countries’ overall security.